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Walgreens to open in fall '06

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005

Drug store giant Walgreens plans to open a store on Route 8 at Butler Plank Road in fall 2006 as part of its expansion plan in Western Pennsylvania.

The Shaler location is one of 10 that the Deerfield, Ill.-based retailer plans to open in the area by the end of next year, spokeswoman Carol Hively said. Walgreens now has three stores open in Crafton, Bethel Park and Pleasant Hills.

With $42.2 billion in sales during fiscal 2005, Walgreens is the nation's largest drugstore chain and the seventh-largest retailer. As of Aug. 31, Walgreens operated 4,953 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico, including 43 in Pennsylvania. The company has opened 2,271 stores during the past five years and is opening new locations at the rate of one every 20 hours.

Hively said a growing demand for prescription drugs is fueling the company's growth.

"We see the demand for prescription drugs increasing pretty dramatically as the baby boomers continue to age and people are living longer. More people are living longer in those years where you use more prescription drugs," she said.

Shaler commissioners recently approved the Walgreens development plans on the 14-acre site, where a warehouse once stood.

Hively said the 14,800-square-foot Shaler store, a typical size for the company, will employ 25 to 30 people and include a drive-through pharmacy window. Construction will begin in the spring, with the store opening by November, she said. Its hours are not yet determined.

Developers told township officials that future building at the site could include a big box store, restaurants or a strip mall, said Shaler Engineer Kevin Creagh.

Elsewhere, Walgreens plans to open stores at 10707 Frankstown Rd., Penn Hills, in October and at 5956 Penn Circle South, East Liberty, in February. A New Kensington location, at 2455 Leechburg Rd., will also open in February.

In addition to Shaler, Walgreens stores scheduled to open next year include ones in New Castle, Verona, and Uniontown, Oakmont, North Huntingdon, and Heidleberg.

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